The Wilson Family Meeting
(Ten Days Later)
Jess and Skipper would be home from school any minute now, so Matt and Jen took a step back to inspect their own handiwork one last time.
It was really quite remarkable. In the few short hours since the kids had left for school that morning, the Wilsons’ warm, cozy living room had been transformed to exude the stainless-steel professionalism of a middle-of-the-road corporate conference center – just the effect Matt had been going for.
Stretched across the living room’s entrance, just below the dentil molding, was a banner reading:
YOU CAN’T SPELL INTANGIBLES WITHOUT A-B-L-E!
In an especially nice touch, the Wilsons’ four-fisted “(Em)Power(Ment) to the People!” illustration – Skipper’s distorted ring finger and all – appeared in the banner’s lower right hand corner.
Floral arrangements – “Courtesy of Jen’s Jonquils ’n Stuff!” – stood sentry on each side of the entrance. Next to one arrangement was a new lanyard for Skipper. Next to the other was a clip for Jess.
Just inside, Matt had found a use for two of his high-powered management consulting tripods. One supported a foam-core-backed poster reading: “Next Year’s F-MOS Will Be The F-MOS(T)!” The other displayed a blown-up version of the new WFVs.
Right alongside the WFV poster was a long table with an array of items evoking elements of the WVFs themselves:
- A boxed set of Matlock DVDs.
- A portrait of Jess in a dance outfit (lyrical) next to a photograph of Isadora Duncan, scarf flowing, the universal symbol for “DO NOT” (red circle bisected at a 45-degree angle by red slash) over Isadora’s face.
- A picture of Junior Samples with the same “DO NOT” symbol across his face. (This one was pretty cryptic, but Matt had really loved watching Hee-Haw when he was a kid.)
- An EMPOWERMENT COMPANY shirt.
- A coffee mug featuring the four-fisted (Em)Power(Ment) logo.
- A sign reading: “RATINGS ≠ RANKINGS.” (Jen had argued against this, but Matt had prevailed. He thought it would serve as a subtle reinforcement for when the kids filled out the next year’s F-MOS survey. To serve as further reinforcement, a copy of this year’s F-MOS report was directly under the sign, with “(T)” penciled in so that it now read “F-MOS(T).”)
- And in a final and inspired touch, there was also a generous portion of Nana Pepitone’s Cabbage and Penne Surprise (Jen always kept some in the freezer) … with a place setting for one … Skipper’s iPad set up next to it in Dinner Skyping position … and a picture of Matt displayed on the iPad’s screen.
Matt and Jen heard the exhaling sigh of a school bus’s air brakes. Jess and Skipper would be walking through the door in a matter of seconds!
They rushed to take up their positions just inside the front door and could hear the kids’ good-natured teasing getting louder and louder as Jess and Skipper made their way up the front walk.
The door opened. Matt and Jen didn’t say a word. Instead, they made a broad Go-on-in! gesture toward the living-room-cum-conference-center to their left.
Jess and Skipper turned to their right and saw the banner and the floral arrangements and the rest of the displays that their mom and dad had – obviously lovingly – laid out. They smiled, then turned back to their mom and dad to give nods of approval. Then they held out their arms – Jess toward Matt and Skipper toward Jen – in the family’s unmistakable signal that it was time for a group hug.
The four Wilsons gathered together in a tight bond (literally and figuratively). Matt and Jen stole a look at each other. The expressions on their faces could mean only one thing: We did it!
And they had. Even though it hadn’t been for any of the F-MOS-inspired reasons that they thought they had.
© Copyright 2015, by John Guaspari
Subscribe below to John Guaspari’s blog—Musings—to be notified when a new chapter becomes available.
You can purchase Otherwise Engaged —the complete book— at Amazon.